Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Policy bans smoking in Hamilton hot spots

Hamilton has a high number of young smokers compared to other parts of New Zealand. Photo / Thinkstock
Hamilton has a high number of young smokers compared to other parts of New Zealand. Photo / Thinkstock

A new policy banning smoking in Garden Place, playgrounds and all council facilities has been enforced even with its flaws.

The council yesterday voted 9-2 on introducing the city's first smoke-free policy which will be self-policing, despite posing a disadvantage for restaurants operating in those areas who will be unable to provide smoking areas. The policy became active as soon as it was ratified yesterday.

Embargo Restaurant owner Elaine Hickel said it would all Garden Place hospitality providers at a disadvantage to other operators in the city and questioned why Hood St and Victoria St restaurants weren't being treated the same.

Mrs Hickel said, of learning of the council's decision, she had no plans of stopping her customers from smoking outside while dining at her restaurant.

Deputy mayor Gordon Chesterman also discovered the plans to ban smoking at all of Hamilton Gardens would affect the cafe at Hamilton Gardens which is to be opened by new operator Kerr and Ladbrook in December who staff said knew nothing about the ban.

Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker tried to delay the decision by suggesting it was raising more questions than immediate answers, but was out numbered by councillors keen to see a policy introduced.

Councillor Pippa Mahood said the council should go-ahead with the proposed policy without making any exemptions for individual operators and consider feedback from all users when it reviewed the policy in six months.

Councillor Dave Macpherson also wanted to see the policy include parks and reserves but the complex move has been delayed until the second phase, likely to be included as part of the six month review, when any initial issues would be ironed out first. Mr Macpherson had initially suggested council add a clause that would make half of Embargo's outdoor area exempt to the smoking ban in Garden Place but later withdrew it.

Councillor Margaret Forsyth thought it was unfair to disadvantage one city restaurant over all the others even though she hated smoking and said there might be other operators in the area also be affected. She voted against the policy being introduced along with Peter Bos, the only councillor who smokes.

The coucil was responding to a government initiative for the country to be smoke-free by 2025.

Smoking ban:

* Garden Place and Civic Square
* Entire precinct of Hamilton Gardens and Hamilton Transport Centre
* Within 10 metres of council-owned buildings/facilities
* Within 10 metres of Hamilton City Council playgrounds
* All events run or sponsored by Hamilton City Council will be smoke-free
* Selwyn St and Pembroke St (from the corner of Selwyn St to Ohaupo Rd) surrounding

- NZ Herald

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